Born for Politics
Unlike the candidates in the current presidential election, Steven Kulm was not born into politics, but by age 10 he knew that he was born for it. His blood was red, white, and blue, and now at 28, he is most obviously manifesting it.
Kulm, a 1992 graduate in political science and this year's Young Alumni Award winner, exemplifies the drive, intelligence, and dedication of many young LAS graduates. While at UI, he registered students to vote, led the College Republicans, and won a summer internship at the National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington, DC. After graduation he returned to his hometown of Schaumburg and began registering voters and working for candidates. In 1997 he was himself elected township trustee. In his first five months in office, Kulm organized and raised funds for the nonprofit Schaumburg Township Human Services Fund, providing resources to programs that aid youth, seniors, the disabled, and the economically disadvantaged. The fund has purchased a new wheelchair-lift-equipped bus for the township, sponsored the Youth Department's teen softball team, and donated money to the local food pantry.
Professionally, Kulm exhibits similar drive and commitment to public service. Rising quickly from administrative assistant in the Driver Services Department for the Secretary of State to public information section chief for the Illinois Department of Transportation's Division of Highways, District One, he has traveled the state promoting traffic safety and stricter drunken driving laws. Martha Belluschi, the special assistant to the Secretary of State for traffic safety, credits Kulm with drunk-driving initiatives that have significantly reduced the number of lives lost in alcohol-related traffic accidents in Illinois.
Antonio Yaniz, a former college roommate and now a senior business analyst from Focal Communications, describes Kulm in glowing terms: "The very concept of a limit does not exist to someone as driven and bright as Steve. When he starts something, he finishes it. When he participates in something, he gives it his all. It is that simple."
Twice already, Kulm has been named one of the Outstanding Young Men of America. What's next for someone whose accomplishments are already simply extraordinary?
By Holly Korab